Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pearl Izumi PURE Run Series - 12km

PEARL iZUMi PURE 1st Series 2008

This is the first year that the PI PURE Run Series is being organized, and to get the coveted finisher's tee (one has to complete all 3 runs in the series), I signed up for this very early on. I only realized today that the final run (30km) clashes with my trip to Korea for the ChunCheon and Seoul marathons....aiya, let's see what we can do lah.

SgRunners @ PI PURE Run

I arrived at about 6.30am to Bedok Town Park, and found that the start point was actually where Tekko's support station for Sundown was situated. There were many SAFRA runners, including triathletes. Met many familiar faces from SgRunners as well. The run helpers, decked in their very nice yellow tops, were receiving last minute briefings from Mike and Sam.

The women's open was started first, at 7.30am. After 7min, we could see the front runners of Mika, Sumiko and Alan Chao's disciple in front. The guys were waved off at 7.40am. The initial pace was pretty fast, and I had to constantly slow down so as not to burn out. IMD and a few others soon overtook me to move ahead. There were some slopes to tackle, but the air was still cool in the initial 20min. Reached the 5km point in 25min+, which I thought was not too accurate...should be sub-5min pace.

Divey and her bf were doing marshal duty today. Went to the 7km mark, and Mike Kang directed us to the water point. Chairman was cheering along the way. By the 8km mark, the sun was blazing and some were walking. I could see SAFRA MF runners led by trainer Ong on the return, and they looked like they were running, a real 'mental' challenge. I decided to pull back the pace when I began to breathe heavily. I was pretty drained, and was not able to wave to so many familiar faces....hope they understand.

With 2km to go, I was still conserving myself along the Bedok Connector Park. By then, I have climbed quite a lot of steps already....wah, siong. Sam sure know how to design a challenging course. All of a sudden, I saw the 11km marker....hmm, seemed like the markings were erratic. At the final staircase, the marshal mentioned it was less than 1km to go. I climbed the flight of stairs, before finally entering the final 500m. I saw Sandy shouting to the marshal about something....I was too tired to really ask....just kept my pace and finished the race in 55min. Oops, I really think that the course was short, possibly 11.5km or less, although the stairs and elevation could have been factored into the total distance.

SAFRA MF Runners did well. Lee's son came in first, and teck Hou was third. Mika was first, followed by Alan's prodigy and then Sumiko in third...kudos to all the winners. lcpSimon did a commendable 5/6th position. SlingRunner's fast time of 49min put him among the top 10. I spent time chatting with all the runners, refueled with a banana and 2 cans of 100plus. We also spoke with Mike about the Ponggol Run and possibly volunteering for the PI Run too. Good to meet with Yulan and Divey, 2 people whom I have not seen for some time. DO was keen on the prize presenter....he will lay down plans to train hard :). After a wash up at SAFRA Tampines, DO, Cokiee and myself went down to Adam Food Centre to meet the MR Trail Runners, who had a very successful run where 60 SgRunners showed up.

Distance: 11.5km__Time: 55min20sec__Pace: 4:49min/km

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Friday, June 27, 2008

I-Run @ Singapore River Promenade

As I will be starting to lead the I-Run in town next week, I went down to do a recce of the run route and to get a feel of the make-up of the runners.

I-Run @ Singapore River Promenade

Every Tuesday and Thursday (3 km, 5 km, 7km) at Singapore River Promenade
Time : 6.30pm - 7.30pm

An initiative aims to encourage working adults to engage running as part of a healthy lifestyle. There are different distances (3km, 5km, 7km) available for participants with different running abilities.

There were about 80+ runners, with lead runners and running assistants to run along, facilitate the runs, and motivate the runners. The main bulk of the runners were the 3km and 5km runners, and these are the ones that we should focus on. There were about 15 7km runners, half of which are pretty fast. Most of the runners are from the nearby financial institutions with sizeable groups from some of the large banks nearby.

The run is open to all running enthusiasts

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ponggol Central Run 2008

I volunteered myself as a sweeper for the inaugural Ponggol Central Run 2008. Mike Kang, who was the chairman of the Ponggol Runners, had planned for this race with his team for at least a few months. Instead of doing the 5km speed run, I thought I could be of help as a rear runner to run with the fun runners, as well as motivate and encourage all to complete the race and have fun. The location was set in rustic, scenic Ponggol, an area where I do some of my regular runs...I run there from home about once every 1-2 months.

Kayano, DO, Beverly and myself were the Sweeper Team, who were to run along the 2 waves of competitive 5km runners and the 3km fun runners. DO had gone for an earlier briefing, and collected the volunteer running top for the team. DO and Kayano even went down to the race site to do a route reccee the day before. It started to rain cats and dogs at 6am on race day, but fortunately, it was down to a trickle by the time we got to the race site at 7am. We met Mike Kang at the Ponggol MRT (Race Site), got the final instructions from him, collected our walkie-talkies, and helped out around the registration area.

Fennel and xsuanjing turned up as race! We met many familiar faces and running kakis from SgRunners (Brokie & family, ham, Chantelle, IMD, Yee Hua, SassyRunner, teelee, Jodan, kcslchin, lcpsimon), MR25 Runners (Stephen Lee & a whole bunch of his very speedy runners), SAFRA Runners (Melvin, Yap, Shirlyn) and Ponggol Central Runners.

When minister Teo Chee Hean, MPs Teo Ser Luck and Charles Chong arrived, wave 1 was flagged off. DO and Kayano followed this wave. Wave 2 was flagged off 5 mins later; Beverly and myself followed the last person from behind. Because it was a shorter distance, I was able to run up and down to spot any runners who might be in trouble, but mostly to give encouragement to the rest. Fennel was positioned strategically in the middle of the road, with poncho over her head to take photos of runners going pro!

Wave 3, led by the ministers, soon overtook the rear of wave 2. I ran closely behind the VIP group for about 1km, before they safely made it to the finish. I then joined Beverly to continue on to catch up with the 5km group. We caught up with DO and Kayano all the way to the 4.5km mark, where they were waiting for the final group of runners. We had good fun escorting the final 5-6 runners to the end...spotted Gentle, Ripley and many SgRunners cheering us on, with photographers snapping away.

The Sweeper Team

Mike Kang was there to welcome all the runners back, and thanked us for a job well done. He later got us some goodie bags which was a nice bonus for us. Thanks Mike. We were rewarded with delicious milo from the 'Milo Van' and then met up with the SgRunners for group photos. Feedback from the runners were good, and most of them enjoyed the race and cool weather. IMD did a good 20min time, while Jodan and kcslchin both scored PBs for their 5km races...well done folks! The MR25 runners were out in full force, and recording fast times of 17min-18min+ 5km to swipe most of the top few prizes in the various categories....President Stephen Lee must have been pleased as punch :)

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

SgRunners' 3rd Anniversary

Thanks For The Memories :)

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

A tired 'aniMAL'

I was scheduled to help out as a sweeper this Sunday at the Ponggol Central Run. Because of that, I organized a gathering of a few SgRunners' folks to do a LSD of 21km-24km at the aniMILES haunt. For some strange reason, I woke up to my alarm at 5am, set it to 7am, and went back to sleep...wahaha. It was a mad scramble for me when I was jolted at 5:40am, realizing I was late to pick DO and meet the gang at 6am.

(Standing L-R) DO, Prata, Bug, tohmin, Cheow12

Without any breakfast not even a sip of kopi, I dashed out of the house, picked DO up, asked him to sms the rest that we would be late for about 10min. We arrived to a rather large group of eager aniMILES' runners, all raring to go! I took a quick sip of water, fastened my shoelaces, and away we went at 6:15am. I only managed to look around to see who were around. The fast ones like Bug, teelee, kk, Cheow12 had already sped off. Passion, Wendy, DO, Kayano, RealRunner, Gentle was running in the mid pack. tohmin, Prata, hophling, DeepCruiser were enjoying themselves just slightly behind. I took the opportunity to say hello to all, and chatted about some of the recent happenings with the group members.

(looking at camera) Passion, tohmin, Wend88

It was a slow and easy run this morning, and the air was cool and crisp along the Seletar Reservoir way. We were enjoying ourselves as we ran past the pack of dogs who were rather cooperative. Hophling's team turned back just at the gate towards Mandai Road, estimated to be about 8km covered. Gentle's team turned back further up (about 9.5km) before we ran towards the zoo. Bug and teelee had already past us along Seletar Reservoir. kk and Cheow12 passed us along Mandai Road. It was then down to DO, Kayano, Passion and myself making our way to the 12.5km mark at the turn to the zoo. I had some nice discussions with DO and Kayano about I-Run and Ponggol Run preparations. Passion was real focused, just pacing us from behind.

Gentle & Kayano

We turned back together, and made our way back under the heat of the already rising sun. We ran as a single file along Mandai Road, and then took a toilet break at the Executive Golf Course area to wait a bit for Passion. Sensing that she was not too far off, we made our way back, and spotted Roonz and Aerosolcan doing their ninja run. My 'tank' was running on empty, and I was slowing considerably. I had no time to take brekky, nor bring any food with it was getting tough. It was good relief when we got to OUTR, where we at least got some shade.

I finished the run with Kayano and DO in about 2hr20min...not fast, but still a good workout. Passion came back about 10min later. Thanks to Prata and the earlier group that came back for the 100plus and Choco milk (I loved that one :))...nice run, good company, and discussions about what to wear for the SgRunners Anniversary...hehe

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prayer answered :)

It was a wet afternoon as I was thinking if the I-Run @ IBP would be able to go on. Thankfully, the rain stopped and we had nice, cool weather by 6pm. Maverick had some matters to attend to, so I was to lead the 10km group. Kenneth would do the warm up for both the groups....great! Lactic was in her cheerful self as she prepared for the I-Runners to arrive.

Had a good chat with Celine and her group about Sundown. Took the heart-rates of the 10km runners, which is seeing a growth. In fact the I-Run group is growing, and getting good I heard it might be extended for many more! Seems like more new runners are taking to the roads, and going for longer distances.

I spent some time at the mid-point to cheer and help guide the 5km runners back until Kenneth came. Sim Wong Hoo and his team of runners had done something like 20-30km, and were still looking strong. I continued to join my 10km group, and had a good time cheering them....they were improving every week. Siew Chin was running stronger each time I see her.

Had a good chat with Tommy about his SAFRA Running days. Then spoke with Lactic, and she showed me some I-Run T-Shirts to pick from, something which I did not get since I was not there for the opening ceremony of the I-Run series. She had answered my prayer for a simple I-Run T-Shirt, thanks Angel Lactic :)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Labrador Rendevous

Sent out the SAFRA MF training program to Ang, and he wanted to join us to try out the training. It was to be 6 x 1.4km loops around Labrador Hills, but because of the heavy traffic, we ended up doing fast intervals round the 800m Park area. Labrador is really happening now, with lots of Seafood restaurants having sprouted since we last went there about 2 months ago.

As usual, we did a 3km jog from ClubHouse to Labrador Park. Ang was running near me as he was not familiar with the route. We did 5 laps of Labrador 800m, with entertainment of 'Tian Ya Ge Nu' type of songs being belted out by some song group...hehe. I did laps of 3:45, 3:28, 3:18, 3:16, 3:12. There was a large group of us, and the gals get to run 30sec ahead of the guys, and Chairman was the 'rabbit' for the gals. It was a good workout, as we are just ramping up speed after lots of slow running in preparation for Sundown for the past few months.

Ang was fast and furious, and it was great he enjoyed the workout. It was refreshing to see Lai Chee in 2XU tights, and Alan was giving her the finer points on maintaining good speed....should see her get even better medal standings for the shorter distances in future. Bev did 4 fast laps, and it boosted her confidence that she could still run fast :). After the hard run, we did another 3km slow jog back to the ClubHouse. Good perspiration was rewarded with nice Kway Chap at ABC market.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun Run for charity

Team Dream Runners - S.A.A.B.

Bev wanted to contribute to the 50th Anniversary Franciscan celebrations by sponsoring a team for the 50km Fun Run Relay. Naturally, I formed a team of 10 Dream Runners, with 6 of us running...3 adults, 3 kids :). There was a total of 36 teams that turned up, and 3 very fast teams to boot.

DO Dream

I invited DO to join me for this run for fun, and he very sportingly agreed. There were some fierce-looking runners on race day, very young ones in their was later that we found out that they were trained by Fabian (Sundown Ultra-Marathon winner) who was also participating.....wahsey, didn't expect such a private run to attract so many cheetahs...hehe..... there went out hope to get some of those nice-looking trophies lor. There were 2 teams from the Red Extremes.

DO and I started the first lap of 5km, and immediately was left in the dust by the Red Extremes. We did our steady run, and arrived back in about 24min....not fast, but we were taking it as Sunday run to enjoy...haha. We were the 4th team to come back. I put on the bib for the next lap, and went with Amanda. She ran a little too fast, and had stitches midway. I encouraged her to push on, and not to walk too much. She did well to complete in 35min. The 3rd lap had Sean and Lucas running together. I was a little concerned if they could last the 5km as the longest any of them had done was just 3km. It turned out that they were steady in their pacing, and had the perseverance to push to the finish in a respectable 30min.

Having done 3 laps already, I let DO and Bev take the 4th lap. They had some chasing to do to regain some of the lost time. We were already out of medal placings, although we were not really concerned. I met up with some familiar faces, including ex MF chairman, Tony, who was out doing his LSD. Our team did 29min for the 4th lap, passing on the baton to me and DO for the final lap. We went at a tempo pace, and finished nicely at the Church grounds to rousing cheers. We were in 6th or 7th position.

After the run, we were entertained bu some very happening 881 dancing and singing, lots of Philipino drums and dances, magic show, and a very entertaining MC. I was lucky to win a breakfast maker in the lucky draw. Sumiko and friends came down from the Anlene Mile to support Fabian and the Red Extremes, of which she is helping to train. The kids in my team enjoyed the lucky draw, and we were all eyeing on the PSP special edition. Overall a meaningful Sunday spent in exercising and contributing to a good cause. There could be more of such runs in the future, and I will avail myself to participate and contribute whenever possible.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Runners - A Virtual Reality?


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eyewear for distance running

New Toy: Oakley flak jacket with Persimmon lens

I was fortunate to be selected by Oakley Singapore to trial the latest Oakley Persimmon lens in the Sundown 84km Ultra-Marathon. That was to be the first time I would be putting on eye wear to run in the night.

I collected the Oakley flak jacket frame with Persimmon lens from Oakley’s office on Tuesday evening, and was given a good presentation of the technology and use of the Persimmon lens. Joey was very helpful to look for a good fit for the few of us and I found the flak jacket to be most suitable for my rather low nose bridge. It was a very stylish silver/black frame which suited my face to a T. The experience at the collection centre gave me a good feeling, and assured me that I will get good support and service for my Oakley product should I need it in future.

I brought it for a run on Wednesday evening, transitioning from the evening daylight to the night. There was no loss of clarity at all during the transition. I even let some of my running kakis look through the lens, and they were impressed with its clarity even under the cover of night. I also used the Oakley shades when I drove in the day, and even wore it all around for the past few days and nights. The frame and Persimmon lens really felt part of me, and my eyes did not feel any strain at all.

The Persimmon lens provided a clear vision at night and made objects appear sharper than without the lens. That was a pleasant surprise. True to its 3-point contact with the face, the frame sat well, without any movement felt as I ran. Even when I pushed the frame aside to wipe my perspiration, it did not dislodge the position of the frame by much.

There was no fogging experienced in spite of the rather snug fit to the face. This frame afforded air ventilation in spite of the lens not having ventilation wells, something which I was originally concerned about. Perspiration on the lens slowly cleared even without much wiping of the lens.

I could see very clearly through the Pesimmon lens and avoided some near clashes with people coming on stream. The lens was robust enough to take some shocks, albeit not direct hits to the lens. At a rest point, I took a rest and gave the lens a good wash under the running tap. It dried on its own, and there were not a hint of smudges on the lens when I put it back on. It was so easy to handle and use. I did not have to worry one bit about looking after it, and instead could just focus on the run at hand. The Persimmon lens became a good tool, instead of being a burden and strain on the eyes.

I think I have found the optimum pair of shades for both night and day in the Oakley Permisson lens (flak jacket), and could be used for all occasions of my sports and daily life, driving, running, shopping, meeting with friends, and best all all, it looks pretty cool and fashionable.

Thanks to the generosity of the Oakley management, I was allowed to keep the trial pair of Oakley eye wear for good. They liked the short review that I had put up. I will certainly bring my new Oakley eye wear out for more distance runs both night and day. In the near future, I hope to do a serious trial of the newer Radar frames which offer lenses fitted with ventilation holes.....ah, another review then.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Saucony Passion Run 2008

After participating in the highly successful inaugural Saucony Passion Run in 2007, I had registered early for this year's race, and was looking forward to doing the 15km distance. Since this was a week after my Sundown 84km Ultra-Marathon, I was prepared to just participate and enjoy this recovery run.

Bev, DO and myself arrived at ECP Carpark E2 at 5.30am. That gave us some time to check out the SgRunners and Saucony booths, say hello and catch up with friends and running kakis. It was good to meet our SCSM07 captain David Tay, who was waxing lyrical about his new Saucony Sinister. I was introduced to the Saucony Fast Twitch light trainers...hmm, quite tempted to try...will see how. DO and I took a short warm up jog, met up with Kien Mau to talk about a running seminar he is putting up, before proceeding to the start point.

The run started promptly at 6.30am for those of us in the Men's Open wave 1. Because I have been used to running slower paces in preparation for Sundown, I have not gotten used to running at about 5min/km pace over longer stretches. I kicked into quite a fast gear, following DO, Trevor, Ayin at a distance. I felt that we were going below 5min/km, and by 3km, I was already huffing and puffing...waah, jialat! IMD and TLR came along quite fast and ran ahead after 2km. The weather was cool but I was feeling thirsty from the heavy breathing. I told myself to keep up the pace, and was able to sustain to the 5km U-turn point. Time check was, what's wrong with the pace? Gotta check the distance markers..hmm

Trevor and group had ran quite far ahead. I had overtaken DO and his group by the 3km mark, and was pretty alone from 5km. At the 6km mark, I ran ahead of Ayin. I could feel 1-2 people behind me, but didn't really bother. Runners from the other wave were seen on the other side, and quite a number of people called out to me. I just waved haphazardly to acknowledge, while keeping my eyes in front to watch out for the strolling crowd. Runalone went past me at the 7km mark, and I waved him on.

I was already feeling the strains on my legs, and I knew that those who did 84km last Saturday still have not recovered. I trailed Runalone from 100m, and he just kept up the pace. Very good SAFRA supporters lined up along the way. Alvin and gang, Jaime and her group, Bug, Fennel...I am sure there were a lot more whom I did not have time to acknowledge....thanks guys and gals. I spotted the Sotong family near the Cable Ski area, but did not have the energy to shout out to them. I concentrated on pushing on till I went past the start was great to have all the loud cheers!

It was with great resolve that I maintained pace till the 10km mark. The inaccurate distance markers threw me off a couple of times...I thought I was running above 5min pace at certain stretches, in spite of the perceived effort of sub-5min. I was pretty alone from 10km to 12km, trying my best to just sustain the pace. Runalone had moved up to 300m in front...I was slowing already. With just 3km to go, there was a challenge from a young tri-althelete who was in good form. I was not in shape to give him a 'fight' and just had to let him run ahead....sorry young man, maybe next time...hehe. At least he impressed the gals quite a bit...good for him!

With 1km to go, my legs were going soft. The glycogen tank was at its low point. I could see the meandering crowd in front, and I just kept in up. A biker rode up and asked me to keep it up and that I was one of the front pack...haha....wonder how he figured that out. Then it was 500m...cheers and screams could be heard. I picked up speed...could see hunky ...Kk... in front. Ran up to him and gave him a high-5, before turning into the finishing stand. I took a quick look behind to ensure there were no one to sneak up, before raising my arms and striding slowly across the finish in 1hr12min+. I hope I finished slow enough for a good photo shot...haha. I was glad the hard run was over.

After I collected my finisher's medal and goody bag, I went back to the finish to welcome back Ayin, Prata, DO, David Shum, and a couple more. We went to the SgRunner's booth to catch up with TLR, IMD and the rest who had returned earlier. Fitness Network's Maverick did a good race and he came up to say hello with fellow I-Run runners.

DO and I proceeded to do a nice wash-up, and we were on time to see Vivian Tang finishing first for the Women's 15km...super. I took my camera out and had a field day shooting from the finish line, of friends, kakis, hunks and babes who were finishing. It was quite fun to be a supporter and photographer. Overall, a nice run and outing, with good weather, great race organization. I will be back for Saucony Passion Run 2009.

Official Results (Men's Open 15km)
47 1360 ANTHONY SUM YEW WAH COMPETITIVE MENS OPEN 15KM 00:24:34 01:00:49 01:12:20

Distance: 15km__Shoes: Asics DS Racer
Time: 1hr12min20sec__Pace: 4:49min/km

Saucony Passion Run 2008 - Photo Slideshow

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

The aftermath...

The aches on the calves and lower leg were gone by Monday. Went for a Great Singapore Sale recovery walk for 3hours, and that helped a little. Joined the SAFRA MF Runners for a 12km recovery run on Tuesday evening. The upper legs were still tight, as I ran along with the group slowly along the Esplanade route. Met some of the CBD runners taking a breather near the Clarke Quay area. Went down to IBP on Wednesday evening for the I-Run. It was a much smaller turnout, probably due to the School Holidays and runners still resting after Sundown. DO paid us a visit and joined me for the 10km route...another recovery run. The legs were still feeling tired.

The SgRunners gathered on Friday evening for a Post-Sundown celebration as well as to thank the Tekko support crew. It was a large turnout, with a sea of red, the proud owners of the Sundown finisher's T donning their tops to the inquisitive stares of the public in the food court. The mood was joyous, with lots of fun and laughter. Passion and Brokie were busy with handling admin for many of the runners who have signed up for the various Mizuno Runs, as well capturing kodak moments of the playful group.

Dinner was followed by a cap-presentation ceremony to thank all the supporting crew who had made the Sundown run that less painful for all of us. I want to again express my heartfelt thanks to Tekko and his Sundown Support Crew. Thanks Guys and Babes. The caps were very nice, and had their nicks along with 'Sundown 2008' to commemorate the event. Some of us liked it so much that we implored Brokie to help us get one too..hehe....shhhhh!

With Sundown 2008 behind us, the group of us felt that we should keep up the training momentum, and begin a Ultra-Marathon Training Program comprising of fortnightly training runs to prepare ourselves and others joining in for upcoming Ultra-Marathons - Lion City 50km, NorthFace 100km Challenge, MR25 X-Country Ultra-Marathon, Comrades Ultra-Marathon 2009, Sundown Ultra-Marathon 2009, and more! The Progressive run series will have names like Dusty Run II, Iguana Capture Trails, 'Cho Kang' Geylang Rendevous, Muddy Grass Run, and many more. Watch for more news on this front.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

The Sundown 84km Ultra-Marathon

I was cajoled by well-meaning friends into signing up for the inaugural Sundown 84km Ultra-Marathon at the SCSM07 expo, and have never looked back since. Since the initial 100 places of the Ultra-Marathon have filled up within 2 days, the organizers have upped the limit to 175, and then to the final 310. This was the first ever night race in Singapore, and the first official nation-wide 84km Ultra-Marathon race. With so many firsts, I would definitely have to be a part of the excitement and aura. A group of us at SgRunners even laid down a comprehensive training and route familiarization plan. I have enjoyed the many months of training and get-together sessions in the run up to this event.

Pre Race

It rained just before DO and I were about to set off for Changi Beach Park. We staked out at Meridien Changi Hotel prior to the race. Visited the SgRunners' booth and met up with familiar faces, before proceeding to check in our needs bag. We were wondering about the large number of runners at that time, since we knew of only 300+ Ultra-Marathoners who were to start earlier. We later found out they were the 10kmx4 Corporate Team Challenge runners. Met my FIL while DO and I rested at the Massage Tent. Angela was there too to get a last-minute check on her recent fall.

The Race

The 10km corporate team challenge started off with the Ultra-Marathoners at 8.30pm. It was a large crowd, and we took a while to clear off. Our plan was to do a 25min run, 5 min walk routine, with DO being the lead and timer. kk and SealBoon joined us, with Brokie just behind. Alber and Eddie also formed a team to do their run/walk routine. The first part through Changi Coastal was as usual boring and mental....the street lamps were lit though. To conserve energy, we did not speak much. Once the Ultra-Marathoners turned off towards East Coast Park, it was a rather lonely journey. It was one long night ahead.

I was glad to finish the first loop of the East Coast Park, with the turn back from The Big Splash area. Once we got on to Bedok Town Park, there was a banana point and the much anticipated pit-stop set up by Tekko, Wend88, Ham, HophIng, Molly and their team of helpers. I had a lotus bun, topped with hot kopi-O. Nice. Brokie, kk and Raven soon came to join us in the shed. DO and I stayed for a short while, before moving off from that 27km mark. Just out from the shed, we saw SAFRA Alvin and Karen who were offering sandwiches...really impressed with their kind effort to support. We met Trainer Ong, Kumaran, Jaime and Melvin How who had come in the wee hours of the morning to support us...very touched.

We completed the first 42km in about 5hr7min without much fanfare. I took quite a long time in transition, wondering what to eat and change. I swapped my PI SynchroFLOAT2 for my new DS Trainer 13. Moving out for the next 42km was a real daunting task. I was tempted to walk often, and my calf cramps did not make things any easier. Saw just a few runners along the way, and most were already taking long walk breaks. I was hoping to just complete the 2nd marathon below 6hrs to make a sub-11hr target. Changi Coastal Road again....very mental. I was trading places with SealBoon and Alber mostly. DO and Prata were slightly ahead.

Going into the East Coast Park stretch for a second time was most wicked. I had Prata and DO for company mostly. Prata offered me a salt tablet when he found that I was going through cramp seizures. It was most unpleasant, as I even had cramps under my ribs and neck. To prevent any major eruptions, I walked a lot more in the second 42km. My mind was just focused on getting out from ECP and going to the Tekko aid station for a final time....that would mean I would be left with 15km. Along the way, many supporters showed up offering cheers and food. I was just too zoned out to acknowledge most of them...haiz.

After a long struggle, I finally made it to the SgRunners' aid station. The first thing I asked for was potato chips and coke. I was so famished, but yet could not stomach much. I was feeling so weak too with having to deal with the cramps. Sassy reminded me not to stay too long, and complete the final 15km. The tought of it then sent shivers down my spine. My legs ached so badly, and were calling out to me to spare them the agony. I still had about 2 hours to make the sub-11hr target.

Unfortunately, the cramps hit me real bad, and I was forced to walk the entire Bedok Reservoir sandy patch, as well as the Tampines Ave 9 stretch. Each time I try to start a slow jog, my calves threatened to seize up. I even had to look for a lampost and a tree to stretch...wah, something which I have not done before in any races. I felt the agonizing pain on my heels from walking, and I knew I had to do some running to alleviate the soreness...a real dilemma. When I finally got onto Tampines Ave 9, after what seemed to be a long long time, I was shocked to learn that I had covered only 3km....Shucks, another 12km to go.

Then the rains came, and I was soaked. I had overtaken the tail end of the 42km runners by then, and many of them took shelter. I pushed on, and started to run. The rain cooled my muscles a little and offered some relief. I managed to run a little and kept at it for as long as I could. Each time the cramps came, I stopped to walk. My wet thights caused me some abrasion at the groin area....arhghh, didn't need another negative at that point. My resolve was severely tested.

SealBoon was my companion for the final 10km. We traded places for a fair bit. After a long struggle, I finally got to Downtown East area, and was flabbergasted to learn that there was a good 7km left. After much snaking around the 42kmers, I was at the final stretch of the Loyang area with just 4km to go. I persisted to slow jog stretches at a time, with 1-2 quick walk breaks up the slopes. Finally it was just 1.5km to Changi Village. I kept a steady pace, and finished the gruelling 84km (many reported it was 86km or more) in 11hrs18min to the cheers of Bev, Passion. Prata, Alber and the other supporters.

I was so glad the painful ordeal was over. However, the finisher T, medal and towel made up for some of the pain...hehe. I joined the rest for the next few hours supporting all the runners coming in, especially the 84kmers. My FIL completed his maiden Ultra-Marathon with just 8min to spare. He was elated, and we were happy for him. It was not an easy race, especially for a man his age.

With Prata & Alber at the Finish Line...SealBoon just trotting in

It was a memorable race for me, what with Bev completing her maiden marathon and FILhis maiden Ultra-Marathon. Of course, completing with friends and kakis in the Ultra-Marathon, as well as getting support from friends from SAFRA RC, SgRunners, and cheering for all those Ultra-Marathoners added on to the great experience. I am glad I was part of this race, and I look forward to supporting it again in future, wether as a runner or a helper.

As I settle down to rest my weary body and sore legs, there are a couple of lessons I have learned. For one, I am not to sure if the walk breaks made me feel even more tired, and took a heavier toll than continuous running. Furthermore, I find that I am a slow walker as I lose most people during the walk breaks. I may attempt to take jog breaks instead of walk breaks for future Ultra-Marathons....that will be one thing to look at.

Race: Sundown Ultra-Marathon
Distance: 84km
Time: 11hr18min

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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sundown Mission Accomplished...Tango Yankee

Completed my longest Ultra-Marathon race of 84km.
It was a most painful experience....especially on the legs.
Got caught in the rain in the final 10km, which led to abrasion.
Bad cramps caused me to walk a large portion of the second 42km.
Missed my planned target of sub 11hr, doing it in 11hr17min.
A memorable race for me, and both Bev and FIL did well.

Now, for some good rest to those poor legs :)

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